07. How to research keywords || SEO Fundamentals

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Everyone will eventually develop their own approach and process to doing keyword
research, and you’ll ultimately need to find something that works for you, but
the most important part of keyword research is to forget about you and your
business, and put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers.
The process typically begins with brainstorming and answering some key questions.
This stage is important from an organizational perspective, because it will
force you to look at different areas of your business.
Start with answering, what services do you offer?
Be as comprehensive as possible and list out as many keywords and phrases as you
can, but make sure that you do it from the customer’s perspective.
As people who work in our businesses day in and day out, we might have a very
different way of explaining our products and services.
Take for example, a discount travel website.
You might be tempted to write down keywords like “high value air transport” and
“G76 eligible discount ticket,” but at the end of the day no one in the world is
typing that into a search engine.
While those things make sense to you, your customers are just looking for
things like cheap flights.
Well, brainstorming can get you started.
We’ll look at some tools that can find and suggest similar keywords and expand
your list of possibilities considerably.
Once you’ve got that list of potential keywords, the next thing you’ll need to
do is take a look at the search volume metrics to see what kind of a demand
there is for those phrases.
As you do this you’ll notice that a handful of keywords will get typed in
thousands and thousands of times a day, but there are a whole lot more that
don’t get typed in nearly as often.
These might be more descriptive keywords or less common variations, but the
important thing to note is that these are known as long-tail Keywords.
Long-tail keywords in SEO are incredibly useful.
They let us go after a much larger amount of less competitive keywords that
tend to be extremely relevant to our business objectives. And, while individually
there’s not a lot of search volume on each term, they each do have some search volume.
For example, if I were selling iPhone cases, I may start looking into the
keyword iPhone cases, a term that gets typed into search engines a lot.
It’s extremely competitive, and it’s probably going to be very difficult to
rank for. But I might also take a look at a more long-tail keyword like blue iPhone 3GS cases.
It’s going to be extremely relevant, less competitive, and easier to rank for at
the expense of raw search volume.
But here’s the important part.
You might be able to find hundreds or thousands of these long-tail keywords that
together have the potential to get you more traffic than ranking for iPhone
cases would have from the start.
Finally, you’ll want to add some meaning and organization around the keywords
that you’ve collected.
You can do this by identifying themes or topics to group your keywords around, a
process known as keyword categorization.
Back to the example with the blue iPhone case.
We may want to create a group that will be just about blue iPhone cases that
includes all the different models of the iPhone.
Alternatively, we could categorize these not by phone model, but instead by color.
There’s no right or wrong way to do this, only a way that works for you and
allows you to manage these groups of keywords as you optimize for them.
Remember in the end that this is an exploratory and discovery exercise.
Everyone searches differently and you’ll find lots and lots of data as you
dig deeper and deeper.
Be open-minded, put yourself in the mindset of your potential customers, and
make sure to consider all of your options as you evaluate your keyword
performance over time.

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